Back in March of 2014, the San Jose Sharks really set themselves and the NHL apart from other professional leagues and teams in North America.
The Sharks signed 17-year old (then) Sam Tageson to an official NHL contract with the organization for one day. Tageson had been diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and was told by doctors to stay away from activities such as hockey. His condition requires a heart transplant at some point and is sadly life threatening.
Yet, that didn’t stop the teenager from picking up the stick and lacing up the skates, nor did it stop San Jose from making a young fan’s dream come true. The two teamed up for an extraordinary sight.
After Tageson signed his contract, the die-hard fan was able to skate and practice with the club the morning of their night game against the Florida Panthers, and became the first “non-player” to ever skate through the enormous smoking Shark head onto the ice for pregame warmups at SAP Center, a.k.a “The Shark Tank.”
Tageson was then able to stand next to his fellow Sharks on the team’s blue line for the National Anthem and was recognized afterwards on the bench by the entire arena…
An awesome and emotional moment for not only this youngster, but for the entire hockey community as well. It’s every players dream who throws on a pair of skates to one day get this amazing and memorable opportunity, but it’s even sweeter to see someone such as Sam have this dream become a reality.
After the Sharks displayed this class act — I believe a couple of teams in other professional leagues did the same for others, which is great. I’d like to see more gestures like this done for young fans, perhaps in need, especially in the NHL; a sport with such a strong and passionate camaraderie.
I tip my hat, or “bucket,” to the San Jose Sharks for their amazing gesture and appreciating the little things.